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CD REVIEW: Vangough - Manikin Parade
By Dan Cohen - 10/04/2010 - 03:24 PM EDT

Artist: Vangough
Album: Manikin Parade
Website: http://www.vangoughband.com
Genre: Alternative Rock
Sounds Like: Journey, Styx, Coheed & Cambria
Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Best Songs: One Dark Birthday, Paradise for the Lost
CD Review: If you're looking for throwback bombast from the prog metal bands from the 80s and earlier, look no further. It begins with the purple prose of their press release:

'[vangough] spit fiery madness by drenching your ears with a purple sunrise of melodic cocaine and a not-so-subtle approach to reading you the story behind today's headlines.' Wow. Purple sunrise of melodic cocaine! I had to review that!

Call me crazy, but I fail to see the ripped-from-the-headlines quality of lyrics like 'i want to believe in your lies/i want to see truth in your eyes' & 'the prison inside of this mind,...a shadow that no one can find'. Yet voices are strong, harmonies generally solid, and  the music often has nice shape, as well as the the over-the-top earnestness of Today's Tom Sawyer, Dream Theatre, et al. Songs tend to develop similarly, ie quiet beginning to 'impressive' screaming guitar/drum heavy riffing) but at 7 or so minutes for virtually every song, they DO develop. Production is strong, though the kick drum is overused and often has a flat, mouse-on-a-motorcycle quality that's not to my taste. But overall- Nicely played, nicely sung, if it's your trip. Try 'Dance of the Summer Mind', for a change of pace. An instrumental power ballad (?). Can't wait to see how they top this purple sunrise. Perhaps more cello/violin? I see Carlton Dorsey listed in credits, but not a lot of strings on album. Unless they had a whole heap of effects on em. There was quite a bit of what seemed like synth strings. In general, I'd like to hear a song or two where they don't try so hard, it's not all arranged. Just a simple song. Cos they can sing, and play.

In any case, I bet their live show is incredible. Lots of heart, lots of soul. Lots o chops. And lots of melodic cocaine!



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